By Sgt. 1st Class Elizabeth Breckenkamp
100th Training Division-Leader Development
For the second time, Army Reserve Headquarters-Fort Bragg has named two U.S. Army Reserve instructors from the 100th Training Division-Leader Development, under the 80th Training Command (TASS), as its Instructors of the Year. The last time was in 2015.
Master Sgt. Ericka Tew, with the 83rd Army Reserve Readiness Training Center, was awarded the Noncommissioned Officer USAR IOY for Fiscal Year 2020. Lt. Col. Jeffrey Gunlicks, an instructor with the 97th Training Brigade won the Officer USAR IOY award. The USAR IOY board for FY 2020 convened Nov. 19, 2019. Now, the next higher challenge for Tew and Gunlicks is winning at the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command's IOY board to be held Feb. 12-29, 2020.
For Tew, winning at the ARHQ-FB level was the thrill of a lifetime.
“When I first received the news in an email, I danced a little jig in my office,” said Tew, the Radcliff, Kentucky native. “I was very excited, humbled, and grateful to have made this accomplishment at this level.”
Tew explained that her Families – both Army and Civilian - played a key factor in pushing herself toward the coveted IOY title at the 80th TC (TASS) and USAR levels.
“I have such a great support network at the 83rd US ARRTC,” said Tew. “From the very beginning, my leadership had full faith in my abilities. Every step of the way I had the 83rd team rooting for me and telling me that I was going to win. I am always so thankful that we are truly a family here.”
Climbing up to the ARHQ-FB level meant Tew and Gunlicks had to beat the competition at the 80th TC (TASS).
During the 80th TC (TASS) competition, seven competitors conducted a class on a military-related topic they chose. A board of judges, consisting of senior leaders, critiqued each competitor using a scorecard with a wide variety of specific tasks and skills the competitors had to accomplish. The judges tallied competitors’ scores and narrowed them down to three finalists, one person in each of the three categories: officer, NCO, and Civilian. Once this was completed, each finalist prepared a 20-minute video for submission to the ARHQ-FB IOY Competition.
Gunlicks said he was surprised when he learned he had won at the 80th TC (TASS) and then at the ARHQ-FB level.
“I was very pleasantly surprised and grateful that the 80th TC cadre had prepared me well,” said Gunlicks. “My chain of command and fellow Soldiers were very supportive and enthusiastic when they found out.”
Each year, the competition begins by identifying a small number of the very best active-duty, National Guard, USAR, and Civilian instructors from a pool of more than 10,000 in TRADOC alone. These candidates are then judged on tactical and technical knowledge, communication skills, and classroom management. Additional consideration is also given to their contributions to training and education, including curriculum development, research, and article publication. The end result identifies the seven TRADOC IOY awardees from the National Guard, USAR, and active-duty organizations.
"To be selected as an instructor means that a lot of confidence and responsibility is placed in these individuals, and the seven instructors who are here are the best of the best in their field," said David Garrity, TRADOC IOY program director. "Being recognized as an instructor of the year speaks volumes about their professionalism.”
Master Sgt. Danny Austin, NCO in charge of the 80th TC (TASS) IOY competition, explained why this competition is essential to the 80th TC (TASS) and the USAR.
“At this annual event, we had our units collectively bring together our very best instructors who not only showcased their individual talents in the classroom setting but also in a readiness-enhancing event,” said Austin. “Preparation is a critical component to maintaining the Army Reserve’s effectiveness as a ready and capable fighting force. Instructors throughout the 80th ensure that every Soldier receives the highest quality training.”
Gunlicks said that instructors are an integral part of the 80th TC (TASS)’s mission in developing trained, ready, and capable Soldiers. He explained that this accomplishment is not just for him but for the overall Army instructor mission.
“The cadre NCOs provided me very detailed feedback which I took seriously and used to modify my lessons,” said Gunlicks. “In turn, I shared this information with my fellow instructors on the feedback I received throughout this process, so that my unit and all of our students benefit from my experience.”